1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Yāqūt

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YĀQŪT, or Yakut (Yaqut ibn 'Abdallah ur-Rūmī) (1179-1229), Arab geographer and biographer, was born in Greece of Greek parentage, but in his boyhood became the slave of a merchant of Hamah (Hamath), who trained him for commercial travelling and sent him two or three times to Kish in the Persian Gulf (on his journeys, cf. F. Wüstenfeld, "Jacut's Reisen" in the Zeitschr. d. deutsch. morg. Gesellschaft, vol xviii. pp. 397-493). In 1194 he quarrelled with his master and had to support himself by copying; he took advantage of the opportunity of studying under the grammarian al-‘Ukbarī. After five years he returned to his old master and again travelled for him to Kish, but on his return found his master dead, and set up for himself as a bookseller and began to write. During the next ten years he travelled in Persia, Syria, Egypt and visited Merv, Balkh, Mosul and Aleppo. About 1222 he settled in Mosul and worked on his geography, the first draft of which was ready in 1224. After a journey to Alexandria in 1227 he went to Aleppo, where he died in 1229. In his large geography, the Mu‘jam ul-Buldān (ed. F. Wüstenfeld, 6 vols., Leipzig, 1866-73), the places mentioned in the literature or the stories of the Arabs are given in alphabetical order, with the correct vocalization of the names, an indication whether they are Arabic or foreign and their locality. Their history is often sketched with a special account of their conquest by the Moslems and the name of the governor at the time is recorded. Attention is also given to the monuments they contain and the celebrities who were born in them or had lived there. In this way a quantity of old literature, both prose and poetry, is preserved by Yāqūt.

The parts of this work relating to Persia have been extracted and translated by Barbier de Meynard under the title Dictionnaire géographique, historique et littéraire de la Perse (Paris, 1871). Some account of its sources is given in F. J. Heer's Die historischen und geographischen Quellen in Jacut's geog rap his chem Wörterbuch (Strassburg, 1898), and the material relating to the Crusades is treated by H. Derenbourg, "Les Croisades d'apres le dictionnaire géographique de Jacout" in the volume of the Centenaire de I'école des langiies orientates vivantes, 71–92. A digest of the whole work was made by Ibn 'Abdulhaqq (d. 1338) under the title Marāṣid ul-Ittilā (ed. T. G. J. Juynboll, Leiden, 1850–1864). Yaqut also wrote a dictionary of geographical homonyms, the Mushtarik (ed. F. Wüstenfeld, Göttingen, 1846). Besides all this activity in geography Yaqut gave his attention to biography, and wrote an important dictionary of learned men, the Mu'jam ul-Udabā. Parts of this work exist in MS. in different libraries; vol. i. has been edited by D. S. Margoliouth, Irshād al-Arib Il ā Mārifat al Adib (London, 1908).